Why include attitudes as an essential element?
While recognizing the importance of knowledge, concepts and skills, these alone do not make an internationally minded person. It is vital that there is also focus on the development of personal attitudes towards people, towards the environment and towards learning, attitudes that contribute to the well-being of the individual and of the group. By deciding that attitudes need to be an essential element of the programme, the PYP is making a commitment to a values-laden curriculum.
What attitudes does the PYP suggest that schools should encourage?
In PYP schools, students should demonstrate:
Appreciating the wonder and beauty of the world and its people.
Being committed to their own learning, persevering and showing self- discipline and responsibility.
Feeling confident in their ability as learners, having the courage to take risks, applying what they have learned and making appropriate decisions and choices.
Cooperating, collaborating, and leading or following as the situation demands.
Being creative and imaginative in their thinking and in their approach to problems and dilemmas.
Being curious about the nature of learning, about the world, its people and cultures.
Imagining themselves in another’s situation in order to understand his or her reasoning and emotions, so as to be open-minded and reflective about the perspectives of others.
Enjoying learning and willingly putting the effort into the process.
Thinking and acting independently, making their own judgments based on reasoned argument, and being able to defend their judgments.
Being honest and demonstrating a considered sense of fairness.
Respecting themselves, others and the world around them.
Being sensitive about differences and diversity in the world and being responsive to the needs of others.
As the attributes of the IB learner profile are relevant to both students and adults in a PYP school, so too are the PYP attitudes. They need to be interpreted and modelled for students. The purpose of the modelling is not to encourage students to mimic but to provide support—a metacognitive framework—to help students reflect on and develop their own set of values, albeit in the context of that being demonstrated.
The teacher should look for authentic demonstrations of these attitudes in the daily lives of the students in order to raise an awareness of, and build an appreciation for them. The attitudes should not be part of a hidden curriculum but should be part of the vernacular of the PYP classroom, explicitly part of classroom discussions, and reflected in teachers’ anecdotal records. They should also be addressed explicitly within the taught and assessed components of the curriculum so that learning experiences and assessment strategies are designed to support and promote the attitudes.
The descriptions of the attitudes are to some degree a reflection of parts of the IB learner profile. Although this congruency is understandable, the attitudes should be considered as “habits of mind” that inform curriculum decisions made across all three components of the PYP curriculum model. Their impact will affect deeply the learning environment and the personal interactions that occur within it.
Source: Making the PYP happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education (2009)